Ceredigion councillor joins Ukip
10:12am Tuesday 11th March 2014 in News
A leading member of Ceredigion County Council has joined the Ukip party.
Aberporth councillor Gethin James signed up to the Eurosceptic right wing party after attending the party's recent conference in Torquay.
Cllr James, who was elected as an Independent and sits on the Cabinet, said he would now be seeking to represent the party at the Assembly elections in 2016.
He will also be campaigning for Nathan Gill, Ukip's Welsh candidate in the forthcoming Euro elections.
"Basically I'm fed up with the European regulations," he told the Tivy-Side.
"I've been disgruntled for a long time and Ukip reflects my own thoughts."
He added that he would not be using his position as a Ceredigion councillor to promote the party.
Currently the party in Wales has two elected councillors on councils in South Wales.
"I was elected as an independent and that is how I shall remain for this term of office out of respect to the people who elected me," he said.
Cllr James has informed his independent colleagues on the council of his decision to join the party.
"I'm sure I will get a lot of flack but I am following my convictions," he said.
"For example, just take the bat surveys that people have to carry out when they make planning applications. That is a European rule that has been applied because there are a shortage of bats in Spain. We have loads of bats in Britain but have to adhere to the same regulation."
And he added: "I'm sure that when we joined Europe back in the 1970s people thought it would involve free trade - not centralised government."
A former heavy goods vehicle driver, Cllr James has travelled widely across Europe.
"A lot of countries that are now part of Europe are a lot poorer than us. Who can blame a Romanian guy coming here for work when the minimum wage in Britain is nine times more than that in Romania?" he said.
He also criticising European procurement policies.
"Regulations coming out of Europe are just over bureaucracy," he said.
Cllr James met Ukip's colourful leader Nigel Farage at the conference.
"I think Ukip get a bad press - perhaps because they are attracting voters away from the mainstream parties," he said.
Nathan Gill said he was delighted that Cllr James was joining the party.
"We do have a lot of members in Ceredigion but we don't have a branch there. Now with Cllr James on board we shall refocus our efforts on that area."